Music Streaming – a timely update
Artists , Copyright , Internet , Music Publishing / November 2015

COPYRIGHT Internet, recorded music, artistes, music publishing   As Music Law Updates finalised the November Updates, news broke that streaming platform Deezer had postponed its planned IPO (initial public offering) on the Paris Stock Exchange due to difficult ‘market conditions’. MBW opined that the least of Deezer’s worries were competition from Apple Music and Spotify, a declining subscriber base and a currently loss making business model. In a timely article, George Chin looks how streaming has developed and the major players in the field – against of background of the success of streaming being blamed for declining physical product and download sales, but conversely offering a workable alternative to piracy to many consumers as habits change, and a valuable new source of revenues, at least for the record labels.   The latest Music 360 report from Nielsen (9th Sept 2015) confirms that sales of recorded music are down and that streaming is growing with 75% of the population (in the USA) listening to music online.  Given that there is now a wide choice of music streaming services available, the report reveals that when making a choice, over 80% of users cite cost and ease of use as their deciding factor…

Deadmau5 looks to trap ‘unauthorised’ remixes
Artists , Copyright , Moral Rights , Trade Mark / November 2015

COPYRIGHT / TRADE MARK / MORAL RIGHTS Artist, recorded music     Deadmau5 has launched a legal action in Ontario, Canada, against his former business associates over allegations that her company has released remixes of his early work without the required prior written permissions. The Hollywood Reporter says that  a decade ago DeadMau5 (Joel Zimmerman) had worked with Canadian label Play Records at the beginning of his career. Initially he created remixes for the company, and later signed publishing and management agreements with the firm and its co-founder Melleny Brown (also known as Melleny Melody or Melleefresh). After relocating to London in 2007, Zimmerman switched his management contract, and negotiated the ending of his contracts with Brown. That deal saw Zimmerman pay a sum of money to Play Records, and he also assigned ownership of some of his early songs and recordings to the company. However, that deal seemingly provided that any future remixes of those tracks could not be released without his “prior written consent”. Zimmerman now claims that Play has released new remixes of his early work without his OK, and has plans for more releases, breaching his contact rights, as well as infringing his trademarks and moral…

Janet Jackson legal blitz shocks fans – and prompts an apology
Artists , Contract , Copyright , Live Events / November 2015

COPYRIGHT / CONTRACT Artiste, live events sector     Janet Jackson’s fans have accused the singer and her team of some heavy handed tactics after they posted pictures and short video clips of her current “Unbreakable” tour on their Instagram feeds. Numerous fans have claimed that after posting pics of Jackson live in concert, they’ve received e-mails from the social-media app explaining: “a third party reported that the content violates their copyright.” One Jackson concert-goer in Los Angeles told Page Six that the morning after the concert, her Instagram account was deleted, “Without warning. Every. Single. Photo. Gone.” Another blogger reported the same issue, claiming they had, “five e-mails from Instagram . . . about the five videos I had posted . . . It seems like Miss Jackson’s [legal] team is on fire. What a shame they don’t understand the times we live in.” Jackson’s team is said to be very ‘struct’ – accredited photographers are given just 30 seconds to catch images at her concerts at the beginning of her set.   A representative for  Instagram blamed the issue on “a bug.” “We have identified a bug that resulted in the removal of accounts that shouldn’t have been removed” adding in a statement “We…

AC/DC’s Rudd loses appeal
Artists , Criminal Law / November 2015

CRIMINAL Artistes     Former AC/DC drummer Phil Rudd has lost an appeal against his sentence after being convicted of both threatening to kill and drug possession earlier this year. He was sentenced to eight months under house arrest and a fine of NZ$120,000 (approx £50,000) but had argued that the sentence was “manifestly excessive” not least as it could prevent him from rejoining AC/DC – both because the band were already touring and he could not join the and te conviction could cause issues getting visas. His lawyer Craig Tuck, said his client was basically only guilty of making an angry phone call to an employee following the commercial failure of his 2014 debut solo album Head Job. However the New Zealand High Court noted that, despite Rudd’s desire to work with the band again, there was no sign that his former bandmates felt the same. Justice Raynor Asher told the court: “First, the band would have to want him to play with them. Second, the convictions would have to operate as a barrier to him travelling with them on tour. Neither are certain. [And] it is far from clear that at the time when the offending took place there was…

Hendrix Estate seeks to reclaim ‘stolen’ Black Widow guitar
Artists , Contract / November 2015

CONTRACT Artistes     The estate of Jimi Hendrix is suing an Arizona guitar shop owner for the return of a guitar once owned by the rocker, claiming it was stolen by an erstwhile member of the group Earth, Wind & Fire. When Hendrix died in 1970 his effects – including the disputed guitar, which may or may not have been played b Jimi  – went to his father, James “Al” Hendrix, who formed Experience Hendrix in 1995 and died seven years later, leaving the guitarist’s adopted sister Janie in control of the estimated $80m estate. According to a court filing, Experience Hendrix, the company responsible for Hendrix’s estate, alleges that Harvey Moltz, the owner of Rainbow Guitars in Tucson, is not the rightful owner of the Acoustic Black Widow guitar as  the Black Widow was in fact stolen by Sheldon Reynolds, a sometime singer and guitarist for Earth, Wind & Fire, who is also a former member of The Commodores – and a former husband of Janie. According to the Arizona Daily Star, Mr Moltz says he bought the instrument for $80,000 (£52,000) in June 2014 from Brian Patterson, who in turn acquired the instrument from Sheldon Reynolds;  Moltz says…

France brings in new online music agreement
Artists , Copyright , Music Publishing / October 2015

COPYRIGHT Recorded music, music publishing, performers   The IFPI has welcomed the agreement struck by the music industry in France, aimed at boosting the legal digital music market and enhancing the value of music for all rights holders.   The voluntary agreement (the “Agreement for a fair development of online music”) was facilitated by France’s Minister of Culture and Communications Fleur Pellerin and brings together organisations representing French record companies, unions, recording artists, performers, online music services and others. They will work together to “help foster a sustainable music industry, diversity and innovation, clarity on revenue distribution and a fair value for music recordings.”   The agreement has been promoted by French government intermediary, Marc Schwartz, who was appointed in May 2015 to lead discussions on the development of the online music business between producers, performers and digital platforms. Universal, Sony and Warner have agreed to a new government-approved ‘code’ in France which sees them commit to new levels of transparency and “the fair sharing of value from the exploitation of music online”. The code will mean more clarity over the sharing of multi-million dollar advances from services such as YouTube, as well as the equity stakes that the majors own in…

SAG-AFTRA announce new streaming deal terms with record labels
Artists , Copyright / October 2015

COPYRIGHT Recorded music, performers     The major record companies have agreed a new deal with a performers body in the US, improving the lot of their members from label streaming royalties. SAG-AFTRA represents around 160,000 members, including DJs and recording artists in addition to actors, announcers, broadcast journalists, dancers, news writers, TV presenters and voiceover artists. The body’s members have now voted to ratify a new National Code of Fair Practice for Sound Recordings (Sound Recordings Code) for online streaming and non-permanent digital downloads. This covers money generated for performers outside the US, with particular allowances for label contributions to artists’ Health and Retirement (H&R) savings and the agreement includes all three major record labels, Sony Music Entertainment, Warner Music Group and Universal Music Group as well as signatory independent record labels.   The benefits of the new contract for the artists include ‘Groundbreaking’ inclusion in payment formulas of label revenue generated from worldwide exploitation of member work in online streaming services and as non-permanent digital downloads’. There is also a new provision for the payment of AFTRA Health and Retirement (H&R) contributions on a portion of domestic and foreign streaming payments; Substantial restructuring of the compensation system for licensing of sound recordings, streamlining and making…

Universal set to settle digital royalty suit
Artists , Contract , Copyright / October 2015

CONTRACT / COPYRIGHT Recorded music, performers   Universal Music Group has as said that it ‘shortly’ expects to settle a major US class action lawsuit with a group of artists, having made a significant offer of monetary compensation. The lawsuit dates back to 2011, when a group of recording artists including Public Enemy’s Chuck D, Rob Zombie, the Rick James Estate, Whitesnake and Ron Tyson of The Temptations filed a claim seeking additional royalties for the online sale of downloads and master ringtones claiming that iTunes royalties should be paid on a ‘licence’ terms – 50/50 split between label and artist – rather than on a unit ‘sale’ basis which applies to physical sales a nd generates far lower royalty payments for artistes. In 2012, the production company who discovered Eminem, FBT Productions, settled with Universal out of court in a similar case. Warner Music concluded an $11.5m settlement with 2,000 artists making claims on the same basis, and Cheap Trick, the Allman Brothers and a number of other Sony artistes in settled a similar claim made against Sony.   This motion for approval was submitted to U.S. District Judge Susan Illston and according to UMG parent company Vivendi: “This settlement transaction is expected to be formally approved by…

AFM launches legal action to force digital pension payments from the major labels
Artists , Contract , Copyright / September 2015

COPYRIGHT / CONTRACT Artistes, recorded music   The American Federation Of Musicians has launched a legal action against the three major record companies in the New York courts relating to an agreement between the majors and the AFM pension fund, in which the American branches of the record companies promised to pay 0.5% of all receipts from non-domestic digital transmissions of recordings into the fund. This agreement includes the ever growing monies from streaming, non-permanent downloads and ringbacks, and dates back to the 1990s – when such income was marginal. The AFM says that independent auditors have identified missing payments last year, but attempts to settle the matter directly have been unsuccessful. AFM International President Ray Hair says: “The record companies should stop playing games about their streaming revenue and pay musicians and their pension fund every dime that is owed. Fairness and transparency are severely lacking in this business. We are changing that”.

Warner’s will share SiriusXM settlement with artistes
Artists , Contract , Copyright / September 2015

COPYRIGHT / CONTRACT Recorded music, artistes     The Warner Music Group has pledged to share its portion of a recent $210m Sirius XM settlement with its artists, paid via SoundExchange. The money is due to be paid to major labels plus ABKCO – the owner of classic Rolling Stones copyrights – by the US satellite/digital radio giant, Warners has said that it will share its portion of the proceeds with artists on the same basis as it usually shares royalties from Sirius, which means the cash will be paid to artists via SoundExchange. However, both what Warner’s share of the settlement actually is, and the share of that paid to artistes remains to be seen   And take a look at MMF Board Member Andy Edward’s blog “On a day-to-day level, many of us in the management world like and respect the individual label executives with whom we work; but a substantial overhaul of business practices at a corporate level is essential and not just in labels; PROs and publishers also need to change.”

Hendrix feud ends
Artists , Trade Mark / September 2015

TRADE MARK Artistes   The family feud over the estate of guitar legend Jimi Hendrix has been settled – 45 years after it began. Hendrix’s adopted sister Janie Hendrix, and his brother Leon Hendrix, have reportedly reached an out of court agreement and according to The Seattle Times, the settlement includes past and futrure use of Hendrix’s name and image in merchandise such as posters and T-shirts. Experience Hendrix LLC owns the rights to the estate and is controlled by Janie Hendrix. Her company accused, operated by Leon Hendrix, of infringing their trademarks and other rights.

19 adds the ‘Spotify shareholding’ to its battle with Sony Music
Artists , Contract , Copyright / August 2015

CONTRACT / COPYRIGHT Recorded music, artistes     the lawsuits filed by 19 Management against Sony on behalf of former Pop Idols winners cover many of the usual areas where artists and labels fall out: the fees Sony charges as money moves around the company:  what happened to the cash Sony received from its LimeWire settlement, and the big ‘post-iTunes’ debate on sharing the digital pie’ : whether digital income should be treated as a ‘sale’ or a ‘licence’ (as artists usually gain a far larger share of the latter than the former which is still treated as a physical sale) In the latest development, 19 has amended its lawsuit to cover another contentious issue, the equity stakes Sony – and other labels – have in various streaming music start-ups, in particular Spotify – which could be worth hundreds of millions of dollars if and when the streaming firm floats. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the revised 19 lawsuit expresses the concern of many in the artist and management community that Sony took the equity stake, which it (arguably) doesn’t have to share with its artists, in return for accepting less favourable terms on royalty payments, a cut of which…

Sony says its Spotify position is all above board
Artists , Contract , Copyright , Record Labels / August 2015

CONTRACT / COPYRIGHT Recorded Music, Artistes     Sony has responded to claims made by 19 Management that criticised a number of its business practices, and according to the Hollywood Reporter has said that “taking equity in Spotify, keeping advertising income and not sharing the spoils of piracy lawsuits is all proper”. This blogger feels many artistes may disagree and the stance taken by Sony, and their latest response may well reignite the argument that says the business practices of the major labels in the recorded music sector are now so artiste unfriendly, a fiduciary duty should be imposed on labels to ensure that when they are negotiating ‘on behalf’ of their artistes, they actually put the interests of their artistes first. Initially after details of the Sony-Spotify deal were leaked, both Sony, and subsequently Universal, was quick to point out that at least with the advances they have received from Spotify and other streaming services (the so called breakage), then of course they would share breakage with artists. So, labels are nice guys ……….But back to the current case: 19’s lawyers had said in filings that the majors had “significant power to exert control over Spotify in order to not…

Blackmore sues to share royalty settlement
Artists , Contract / August 2015

CONTRACT Artistes   Former Deep Purple guitarist Ritchie Blackmore is suing two management companies for just over £750,000, claiming that he should have been included in a settlement reached with other members of the band over a decade ago. Ian Gillan, Roger Glover, Jon Lord and Ian Paice sued HEC Enterprises and Deep Purple (Overseas) in 2003 over underpaid royalties, eventually reaching a settlement. Blackmore, who was a member of the band between 1968 and 1975, and again between 1984 and 1993, was not involved in that case. But heis now claiming that he is owed royalties on fourteen of the band’s albums, Blackmore says he has now audited the two companies audited to quantify his loss.   According to The Mail On Sunday, the guitarist is suing HEC Enterprises for £102,318, relating to claimed incorrect adjustments, for failing to report publishing income and for applying charges in excess of agreed limits.He also claims that Deep Purple (Overseas) owes him £607,797 for failing to report income, overcharging on fees, and using an incorrect exchange rates. He is also seeking £43,000 to cover the costs of auditing the two companies between 2007 and 2013. Blackmore’s lawsuit also reportedly claims that a former director…

Taylor Swift – The ‘godmother’ of pop?
Artists , Copyright / August 2015

COPYRIGHT Artistes, photography   By George Chin.   Hot on the heels of Taylor Swift’s open letter to Apple on Sunday June 21st,2015 – UK music photographer Jason Sheldon published an open letter to Taylor Swift admonishing her for being hypocritical. In evidence, he published a 2011 Photography Agreement for photographers who were given access to photograph her during the first two songs on her concert dates on that tour. In a mild parody of her letter, he wrotes “…forgive me if I’m wrong, but if you take points 2 and 3 in that contract (which is provided to Photographers who need to agree to those terms before they are allowed to do their job in photographing you for editorial outlets), it appears to be a complete rights grab, and demands that you are granted free and unlimited use of our work, worldwide, in perpetuity.  You say in your letter to Apple that ‘Three months is a long time to go unpaid’.  But you seem happy to restrict us to being paid once, and never being able to earn from our work ever again, while granting you the rights to exploit our work for your benefit for all eternity….” A…

More photography issues with The Foo’s  demands
Artists , Copyright / August 2015

COPYRIGHT Artistes, photography   By George Chin.   Before the dust has had time to settle on the Taylor Swift Authorization Form and the refusal of the Irish Times to publish photographs of her sold out arena show in Dublin on June 30, 2015 – today, July 3, 2015, the Washington City Paper (USA) have gone viral with an article headlined:  “Why we’re not photographing the Foo Fighters”.   On the same theme of Artist Photography Release Agreements, the paper hits the nail on the head by stating unequivocally that the Foo Fighters’ agreement “is exploitation of photographers, pure and simple. If a streaming music service tried to use the band’s music for free, they’d have none of it.”   When contacted by the paper, a spokesperson for the band’s management responded that these types of contracts are ‘standard’ and that they ‘protect the band’.  Photographers soberly refer to them ‘Rights Grab Agreements’.   Here it is, in full     I _______________________ (name of photographer) hereby agree to the following in favor of Foo Fighters (“you”) with respect to the photographs to be taken by me of the members of Foo Fighters(either as a group or as individuals) on the date referenced below (the “Photos”):…

Turtles look to block SiriusXM settlement
Artists , Copyright , Music Publishing / August 2015

COPYRIGHT Artistes, sound recordings, broadcasting   Flo & Eddie, the Turtles founders who have led attempts to collect royalties for pre-1972 sound recordings under US state laws, have rejected the move by American major record companies to secure an out-of-court settlement secured with Sirius XM. The Recording Industry Association Of America (RIAA) announced that it had settled its separate legal battle with Sirius on the pre-1972 issue, with the three majors and ABKCO, which controls early Rolling Stones recordings, and are set to receive $210 million in a deal that also sees the music companies providing the satellite broadcaster with a licence on pre-1972 catalogue up to the end of 2017.  With post-1972 recordings, Sirius pays for recording rights through collection society SoundExchange, which then splits the money 50/50 between artists and labels. Flo & Eddie’s attorneys say that the RIAA’s agreement interferes with the musicians’ ongoing class action against Sirius. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the duo’s lawyers Henry Gradstein and Harvey Geller say the record industry’s legal claim against Sirius was a “coattail action” and the subsequent settlement a “brazen attempt to disrupt and interfere with the class action process”. They added: “In other words, Sirius XM and the major labels purported to…

AFM takes Sony to court over musician’s film royalties
Artists , Copyright , Music Publishing / August 2015

COPYRIGHT Artistes, music publishing, Film & TV   The American Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada (AFM) has filed a lawsuit against Sony Music Entertainment for ‘repeatedly violating its collective bargaining agreement’ – the Sound Recording Labor Agreement – in an action is brought under section 301 of the Labor Management Relations Act. Among the alleged contract violations cited in the suit is recording work on Michael Jackson’s This Is It, a 2009 film documenting Jackson rehearsing and preparing for the series of live concerts shortly before his death. The law suit states that Sony called musicians for a recording session claiming it was for a “record” when the actual purpose was to lay down a film score for This Is It. The Sound Recording Labor Agreement (which Sony has signed up to) prohibits recording film scores. Musicians have been unable to collect residuals for the movie soundtrack. AFM International President Ray Hair said the AFM Motion Picture Agreement should have been used. The suit also charges Sony with refusing to make new use payments on a number of other projects including Pitbull’s 2012 version of Michael Jackson’s “Bad” and sampling of Jackson songs like “Billie Jean” and “Man in the Mirror”…

Ukunono, The Battle of the Ukulele Orchestras Plays its Last Tune
Artists , Trade Mark / August 2015

TRADE MARK Artistes   From the IP Kat and by this is written Jani Inhalainen   I thoroughly  enjoyed  Jeremy’s wonderful lounge read on the Sofaworks case. The discussion is however far from over, since here comes another case, dealing with something far smaller than sofas: ukuleles .  The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain v Clausen & Another (t/a the United Kingdom Ukulele Orchestra) [2015] EWHC 1772 , decided just a mere two days ago, concerned a UK-based ukulele  orchestra, The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain (UOGB), who have, since the mid 1980s, garnered some fame due to their unconventional and humorous takes on rock songs through the musical offerings of the ukulele and unusual garb in doing so. They attained  this fame especially within the UK and Germany through their eccentric performances.   And as with any classic music related story, a rival must emerge. Yellow Promotions, a partnership comprising of Erwin Clausen and Dieter Tings, operated another ukulele  outfit called the The United Kingdom Ukulele Orchestra (UKUO), which was created by Mr. Tings and Peter Moss, a professional musician and part-time ukulele  enthusiast. UKUO comprised of British musicians, but was based in Germany. UOGB owns the Community trade mark (CTM) “THE UKULELE ORCHESTRA OF GREAT BRITAIN” (No. 009477341), having registered it for a specific set of services under class 41,…

Rappers violent lyrics will lead to court
Artists , Criminal Law / August 2015

CRIMINAL Artistes   Rappers and their violent lyrics have been a topic of some contention in the USA recently, and now an aspiring California rapper’s online lyrical rant targeting two rape victims “has landed him in legal hot water in a prosecution testing whether his threatening lyrics were protected speech or a criminal act.” Some lyrics have been about the rappers own history: Back in December 2014 HipHop Dx reported that rapper Tiny Doo was facing criminal charges because his “No Safety” album implied that the rapper has gang ties. Doo (Brandon Duncan) was charged under laws that make it an offence to benefit from the violent actions of fellow gang members. Whilst Duncan had no criminal record,  he and 14 other members of the gang were being charged for being involved in nine shootings since April 2013. Prosecutors said that Tiny Doo’s “No Safety” album sales have been supported by the reputation of the gang.   HipHopDx also reported that  lyrics and music videos were used in the trial of Ra Diggs, with the judge saying it was permissible in order to prove “a pattern of criminal activity.” In addition, Vonte Skinner, the defendant in a 2008 trial for…

Apple Music v Taylor Swift

COPYRIGHT Online, recorded music, artistes   On Monday 8th June, Apple launched its music streaming service, aptly named – Apple Music – at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference (where else) in San Francisco.  Introduced by the rapper Drake and Beats Music co-founder Jimmy Iovine.   Apple Music will roll out in 100 countries at the end of June i.e. next week.  Initially announced, after a three month trial, the service will cost $9.99 a month or $14.99 for a family plan for up to six people.   Apple Music is combination service – first, a streaming on-demand service of millions of songs and videos; secondly a 24-hour radio station called Beats 1 curated by former Radio 1 DJ Zane Lowe; and thirdly Connect, a music-focused social network, a cross between Facebook and Soundcloud, where artists can connect with their fans by uploading and posting videos, music, photos and comments.   A storm of controversy has raged over the three month free trial.  At first, Apple said that during this period, no artists will be paid for music streamed. At issue is Apple Music’s 90-day free trial, which effectively cuts out any revenue from streams ­during that time period. According to Merlin, the…

BPI launches online portal to help labels and musicians

COPYRIGHT Recorded music, artistes     The BPI has launched its new Copyright Protection Portal at a Midem The portal is intended to help labels, musicians and music businesses see where illegal copies of their music are being made available illegally online and track how BPI is responding. This tool will be available free of charge to all BPI members, PPL’s performers and members of AIM (The Association of Independent Music) who are registered with PPL. The portal will allow users to upload their repertoire into BPI’s bespoke crawlers and to view the ‘pirate activity’ that has been prevented or “disrupted”. It will show how many infringing links have been removed from Google and other search results, how many links have been removed via notice and take down from the source or website hosting them without permission, and which tracks from a label or musician’s repertoire are being pirated the most and on which sites. Commenting at the launch of the Copyright Protection Portal at Midem, BPI chief executive Geoff Taylor said: “BPI is absolutely committed to protecting the creativity, hard work and investment of UK musicians and labels.  We are the leading force removing illegal copies of British music online and…

Wenham speaks out on digital royalties

CONTRACT / COPYRIGHT Recorded music, music publishing, artistes   The World Independent Network has welcomed Sony and Universal’s recent statements on on breakage which have come out after the leak of the Sony-Spotify 2011 contract which added further evidence that the major labels were receiving large advances from digital services – promoting many to ask what the major labels actually did with this money.   WIN says UMG and Sony’s statements simply echo commitments that the indie labels had previously all signed up to in their Fair Digital Deals Declaration – but added that “it is telling that there are no specifics in these recent statements from these corporations”. In an open letter, Alison Wenham, boss of both WIN and the UK’s Association Of Independent Music, said: “We don’t know how long these policies have been in place, how much of the revenue they are actually sharing, whether this applies to all types of non-unit revenue, or how this money is distributed across their catalogues. We don’t know what analogue-era deductions are still getting made against digital income. As usual these facts are withheld”. And Wenham celebrates the indie’s position which she says “makes it clear that signatory companies will share the benefits of dealing…

Timber plagiarism claim rejected

COPYRIGHT / CONTRACT Artistes, music publishing, recorded music     A U.S. copyright infringement action arising out of the international release of the track “Timber” by Pitbull and featuring Kesha has been dismissed by the District Court. The claim centred on the allegation that Sony Music Entertainment, which obtained license from co-owner of allegedly infringed work, a distinctive harmonica melody in the 1978 track “San Francisco Bay” performed by Lee Oskar Levitin, had nevertheless infringed the plaintiff’s copyright. The claim is that the “Timber” harmonica player was, in fact, specifically instructed to emulate Levitin’s harmonica riff.   The Plaintiffs also alleged that the domestic defendants made the song “available” to the foreign defendants, which, in turn, released “Timber” in the United Kingdom, Italy, Germany, Mexico, Spain, Canada, Australia, France and South Korea. All defendants moved to dismiss the complaint for failure to state a claim, and the foreign defendants also moved to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction and on the basis of forum non conveniens. The court granted dismissal of only the claims against the U.S. defendants. Judge Paul A Crotty accepted the defendants argument that the plaintiffs failed to state a claim because the defendants had a license to use the harmonica…

19 v Sony: the battles continue

CONTRACT Artistes, recorded music   There has been another tranche of  pre-trial battles between management company 19 and former business partner Sony. 19 is suing Sony Music over the record contracts signed with the major by various ‘American Idol’ finalists. 19 of course owns the ‘Idol’ franchise and managed successful artistes who came out of the now cancelled show.  Sony was, for a time, the record company with the rights to sign finalists that appeared on the programme. 19 is alleging a number of breaches of contract and failures to account including an account of monies settled to Sonya s part of the ‘Limewire’ litigation  and whether digital income should be treated as a ‘sale’ or a ‘licence’ when artist royalties are calculated. Sony failed to have 19’s lawsuit dismissed back in March. It then filed its own countersuit that claimed some of the former Idols 19 represents had been overpaid by the record company, while also concurrently asking for the judgement on dismissal to be reconsidered. On the latter point Sony it had some success earlier this month, when a judge decided that, actually, 19’s claim that Sony had acted in bad faith over digital royalties should not be allowed to proceed, though breach of contract…

Universal moves to settle digital royalty dispute – but the debates continue

COPYRIGHT Recorded music, artistes     As expected, Universal Music has followed the lead of Sony and Warners in filing proposals to settle the class action lawsuits they face in the US over the digital royalty rate that they pay to their artists for downloads under contracts which are ‘pre-digital’ and therefor silent on the issue. The major labels initially all took the position that they would treat downloads as sales, but a wide range of heritage artists argued that download income relates to ‘licensing’ deals done with the download stores, with one case, between Eminen’s producers FBT Productions and UMG resulting in a appellate court victory for the artists position FBT argued they had a right to a 50/50 split of profits with Universal on sales of digital music and ring tones through online retailers such as iTunes and Sprint as these ‘Master Licensing’ deals attracting the higher royalty. The contract did not specifically mention income from download stores like iTunes, or what share the artist (and therefore FBT) should get from such sales but Universal have been treating download sales as being equivalent to CD sales paying a lower rate of 12-20%% as if these were physical sales. Whilst a district court refused summary judgment saying…

US Court upholds Lanham Act violation of Bob Marley’s image
Artists , Competition , Trade Mark / May 2015

COMPETITION / TRADE MARK Artistes     The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has addressed the issue the use of whether the use of a deceased celebrity’s likeness or persona in connection with a product constitutes a false endorsement that is actionable under the Lanham Act, and has upheld a District Court’s finding of false endorsement and economic interference against defendants who had been selling T-shirts featuring an image of the late reggae icon, Bob Marley. Fifty-Six Hope Road Music v. A.V.E.L.A., Inc., Case Nos. 12-17502, 12-17519, 12-17595, 13-15407 and 13-15473 (9th Cir., Feb. 20, 2015) (Smith, J.) (Christen, J., concurring-in-part and dissenting-in-part). It wasn’t disputed that in 2004, A.V.E.L.A. acquired the rights to some photographs of Marley from a photographer, Roberto Rabanne.  A.V.E.L.A. then licensed the images to defendants Jem Sportswear (Jem) and Central Mills (Freeze) and Jem and Freeze used the photographs on Marley T-shirts and other merchandise, which were sold at retail outlets. In 2008, Hope Road sued A.V.E.L.A., Jem and Freeze for trademark infringement and false endorsement under the Lanham Act, for common law trademark infringement, as well as for unauthorized commercial use of right to publicity and intentional interference with prospective economic advantage under state…

Perry yet to secure Left Shark Trade Mark
Artists , Trade Mark / May 2015

TRADE MARK Artistes   Do you remember ‘Left Shark’, the slightly out of time dancer who was ‘dancing’ beside Katy Perry during her Super Bowl half time show back in February. After designer Fernando Sosa made a 3D printed figurine called Left Shark available online – Perry’s team quickly began investigating how she could take ownership of intellectual property in the name, the image and the concept of Left Shark. The US Trademark Office has now had its say. Examiner.David Collier wasn’t impressed with an application to register the image of Left Shark. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Collier wrote that the design “identifies only a particular character; it does not function as a service mark to identify and distinguish applicant’s services from those of others and to indicate the source of applicant’s services”. The Examiner also noted that there were inconsistencies between a photo of actual Left Shark and a drawing of Left Shark with the Examiner saying: “Specifically, the [photo] displays the mark as a stylised depiction of a forward leaning shark in nearly a front profile with a portion of a dorsal fin, two pectoral fins and two legs and feet substituted for the caudal fin on the…

Swift grabs domain names
Artists , Internet , Trade Mark / April 2015

TRADE MARK Artists, internet   Taylor Swift has bought the web domain names and The addresses were part of a public sale by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) of new domains. The non-profit group has expanded the number of generic top-level domains, or gTLDs, such as .com and .net in 2011. There were 22 four years ago but now there are nearly 550 with new ones released every month. ICANN is clearly aware of the negative repercussions of adding these domains and allowed trade mark owners and public figures to take advantage of the so-called “Sunrise Period” and register the domains before they become open to public purchase on June 1. The Trademark Clearinghouse,  “a global repository for trade mark data” will verify trade mark data from multiple global regions and maintain a database with the verified trade mark records.  This verified data can be used to support ‘Trademark Claims’ and ‘Sunrise Services’, both of which are required for the new gTLDs.  The Trademark Clearinghouses’ ‘Sunrise Services’ allow trade mark holders an advance opportunity to register domain names which correspond to their marks before domain names are generally available to the public. The Trademark Clearinghouse service…

Kraftwerk trade mark claim powers up
Artists , Trade Mark / April 2015

TRADE MARK Artistes   Kraftwerk co-founder Ralf Hutter has launched a trademark infringement lawsuit against a German company called eZelleron who plan to manufacture a portable phone charger which they plan to call … Kraftwerk. Hutter, who owns trademarks to the Kraftwerk name in multiple territories in various classes, is claiming that eZelleron’s chosen name for its product suggests at least an endorsement on his part. However, the meaning of the band’s name is ‘Power Station’ in German which in the circumstances might prove a burden for the musician. The Hollywood Reporter says that Hutter is launching his legal actions in Delaware in the U.S. rather than Europe, demanding that US internet service providers and crowdfunding platforms be barred from displaying references to eZelleron’s “Kraftwerk” in order to avoid confusion amongst consumers. Hütter said that the sale and distribution of the portable phone charger would contribute to the dilution of the band’s trademarks, which are “widely recognised by the general consuming public” of the US and that  eZelleron’s portable charger infringes three US ‘Kraftwerk’ trademarks. eZelleron raised $1.5 million from a successful Kickstarter campaign,

Sony and UMG actions could re-shape the digital pie
Artists , Contract , Copyright / April 2015

COPYRIGHT / CONTRACT Recorded music, artistes, streaming     Sony Music has failed to have a wide-ranging lawsuit filed by Simon Fuller’s 19 Entertainment a year ago dismissed, though some elements of the case have been thrown out. The federal lawsuit alleges that Sony Music Entertainment cheated 19 out of more than $7 million in royalties for “American Idol. Sony Music had traditionally signed ‘Idol’ winners. The suit claimed that it had found “systemically incorrect calculations” on two separate audits of royalty payments made by the major. It then added that the record company had failed to allow 19’s auditors access all the data they required to do a full audit. 19 Roster includes Kelly Clarkson, Clay Aiken, Carrie Underwood, Chris Daughtry, Kellie Pickler, Jordin Sparks, David Archuleta and David Cook, Sony responded a few months later with a motion to dismiss, countering the various allegations made by the management company. U.S. District Judge Ronnie Abrams commented that the companies set up a “highly complex royalty structure” and said that four of 19’s eight claims in lawsuit should be allowed to proceed to court. 19’s claims includes the argument that digital income should count as ‘licensing’ or ‘sales’ income with artist contracts that don’t specifically…

Lufti’s claim against Spears will be heard in court
Artists , Contract / April 2015

CONTRACT Artistes   Sam Lutfi, the one time self appointed manager for Britney Spears at the time when spear’s life seemed to be spinning out of control, is back in the news. Pushed away from Spears when her family took control of her life, the somewhat controversial Lufti subsequently sued the family claiming he had been defamed by Spears’ mother, Lynne, in a book about her daughter’s struggles. She accused Lutfi of “exasperating Britney’s problems and drug taking, whereas he claimed that he had actually pressured the singer to deal with her addictions.” There were also allegations that Spears’ father assaulted Lutfi, while the latter claimed that he had, for a time, been Britney’s manager and was therefore due a cut of her income from that period. That libel case reached court in 2012, with both Lutfi and Mrs Spears taking to the witness stand, but after two weeks Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Suzanne Bruguera  dismissed the proceedings, noting various weaknesses in Lutfi’s arguments and inconsistencies in his testimony. However Lufti’s claim breach of contract and outstanding commissions has continued, and appeal judges in California have now said that the dispute should be considered by a jury saying “We must determine whether Sam’s inconsistent testimony…

Korn’s former drummer thumps out his claim
Artists , Contract / April 2015

CONTRACT Artistes   Korn have sold more than 10 million albums in their long career, with releases including “Life is Peachy” and  their third album, 1998’s “Follow the Leader” which debuted at No 1 in the U.S Billboard charts. Now one of the founding members, David Silveria, is suing his four former bandmates in the Los Angeles Superior Court. Silveria laims that lead singer Jonathan Davis, guitarists James Schaffer and Brian Welch, and bassist Reggie Arvizu owe him an accounting for revenue since 2006 and damages for breach of partnership agreement. He also seeks an order dissolving the Korn partnership. Silveria says he, Schaffer and Arvizu disbanded their heavy metal group L.A.P.D in 1989, and they then joined with Davis and Welch to form Korn and tat he and his bandmates formalised their partnership and agreed to share equally in Korn’s future successes and failures – including its trademarked name.  In 2005, Welch left the group, but retained his partnership interest in Korn. Silveria left in 2006 in a move he calls “a temporary hiatus” in his complaint, saying he always intened to return to the band and he retained his interest in the Korn Partnership, which entitled him to his percentage interest in profits…

Wonder faces $7 million claim from attorney’s widow
Artists , Contract , Music Publishing / April 2015

CONTRACT Artistes. Music publishing   Stevie Wonder (Stevland Morris) is being sued by the wife of his former attorney who claims the singer songwriter owes at least $7 million in unpaid royalties.  Susan Strack is the widow of Johanan Vigoda, a veteran entertainment lawyer with more tha 40 years service for Wonder, who died in 2011. The federal claim says that having helped Wonder escape onerous and oppressive contracts, Wonder agreed to pay her husband a 6 percent fee on royalties “forever.” She claims that several royalty fee agreements and a trusted witness always read the terms to the blind Wonder before he placed his mark on them, which was his fingerprint followed by the signature of the witness. Black Bull Music, Taurus Productions, Sawandi Music, and Stevland Morris Music are also named as defendants. Stack says that whilst payments were made for  a 20 month period they have now ceased and she clains “fees and compensation to which she is rightfully and legally entitled” as well as damages, and punitive damages, for breach of written agreement, intentional interference with contract, and conversion. Strack also seeks declaratory judgment that Wonder and his heirs and successors must continue paying her and Vigoda’s heirs and successors the…

Bombay blues for Indian songwriter
Artists , Censorship / March 2015

CENSORSHIP Artistes, sound recordings   An Indian songwriter who used ‘Bombay’ to rhyme with ‘today’ has seen his song censored when it was used in a television show – with the pre 1995 name for Mumbai removed. Censors stood by their decision to bleep out ‘Bombay’ in Mihir Joshi’s song Sorry about the gang rape of a girl on a Delhi bus, saying using the old name provoked ‘unnecessary controversy’.  The renaming of cities in India started in 1947, following the end of the British imperial period in India, and continues today.  In 1995 the Hindu nationalist party Shiv Sena won elections in the state of Maharashtra and presided over a coalition that took control of the state assembly. After the election, the party announced that the port city had been renamed after the Hindu goddess Mumbadevi, the city’s patron deity. Federal agencies, local businesses, and newspapers were ordered to adopt the change.

Evoking Audrey Hepburn’s image in an ad is not OK, says Italian court
Artists , Image Rights / March 2015

IMAGE RIGHTS Artists   The IP Kat has noticed a recent trend in advertising, ie the use of the image of icons of the past and Eleonora Roasti has blogged on this.   Perhaps it was Dior and Chanel to start this trend a few years ago by using the image of a young Alain Delon as the face (and body) of Eau Sauvage   [and Marylin Monroe as that of Chanel No. 5, respectively. However these days it seems that everybody is doing it. The question thus becomes: do you need permission to use the image of a celebrity? In those countries which recognise image rights  [not the case of the UK, as the Court of Appeal of England and Wales recently  confirmed in the Rihanna case ] , Italy being one of them   [see Article 10 of the Italian Civil Code] ,  the answer seems pretty straightforward: yes, you do need permission. But what happens when you do not use the image of a celebrity, but rather elements that merely evoke him/her  [see here for an interesting Israeli case] ? The Court of First Instance of Milan recently dealt with these issues in an intriguing case concerning unauthorised use of…

Message’s message calls for more transparency in the digital pie

CONTRACT / COPYRIGHT Recorded music, digital distribution, artistes   Radiohead manager and former Chair of the Music Managers Forum Brian Message has used the launch of the Entertainment Retailers Association’s new manifesto to single out the secret deals concluded between content owners – in particular the major record labels and new digital services – for criticism. Pointing out that artistes and their management have the potential to be increasingly closer to the fan he added: “that economic chain isn’t without it’s challenges, as you probably know just as well as us; in fact, many of my colleagues would go as far as to say that it’s pretty well broken and needs fixing. For us, central to this structural failure is the NDA [Non Disclosure Agreement] culture that is now ingrained in the licensing of creator catalogues to retailers and digital services”. “The lack of transparency and the very real erosion of trust felt by many creators and managers in how the economic value chain now operates is an issue that the MMF and ERA needs to focus on together so we can add real value to our members”. He added “Since taking on my new role within MMF and having…

Sky Stone wins $5 million royalty battle
Artists , Contract / February 2015

CONTRACT Artistes   Sly Stone, the frontman of Sly & The Family Stone, who was left reportedly destitute after a contract and royalties dispute, with reports saying the singer living in a tiny van in Los Angeles. But now Variety reports that Stone has won an important law suit, with the singer awarded $5 million in misdirected royalties which resulted from a 1989 agreement when the singer allegedly handed over financial control to his manager Gerald Goldstein and Even St. Production. In his 2010 lawsuit the musician alleged that manager Gerald Goldstein and attorney Glenn Stone had convinced him to sign an employment and shareholder agreement with Even Street Productions in 1989. Through this, he claimed, they then failed to pay him around $2.5 million in royalties, instead keeping the money for themselves. The defendants argued that Stewart had been paid millions of dollars in royalties, and had renewed his agreement with them 40 times between 1994 and 2006. But he had, they said, broken the terms of his agreement by not delivering new music, and it was that which led to the dispute. A jury has now ruled that Goldstein must pay $2.45 million, lawyer Glenn Stone (not related…

‘American Idol’ owner faces contract challenge from 2012 winner
Artists , Contract / February 2015

CONTRACT Artistes   Phillip Phillips, the 2012  ‘American Idol’ winner has  lodged a petition with the California Labor Commissioner which could test the contracts that competitors of talent shows such as ‘Idol’ enter into with the show formats’ owners, relationships which often begin with the terms contenders sign up to when first auditioning. It may also look into the legal problems that can occur when an artist has contracts with multiple divisions of one company, one of which is a management contract, as is the case with Phillips and ‘Idol’ owner 19 Entertainment, now part of the CORE Media Group (although this dispute relates specifically to California’s Talent Agencies Act, and will mainly test if Phillips’ deals with 19 fall under that legislation and, if they do, whether his management firm has complied with the rules and is empowered to secure bookings for him). Phillips signed a series of contracts with 19 governing his management, merchandising, recording and publishing. Explaining his action, Phillips says: “I am very grateful for the opportunities provided to me through appearing on ‘American Idol’. The value that the fans and the show have given to my career is not lost on me. However, I have…

Black Crowes split over band structure
Artists , Contract , Trade Mark / February 2015

CONTRACT / TRADE MARK Artistes   It seems that the Black Crowes have split after frontman Chris Robinson attempted to restructure the band. His brother, the band’s guitarist Rich Robinson said in a statement last week: “It is with great disappointment and regret that after having the privilege of writing and performing the music of The Black Crowes over the last 24 years, I find myself in the position of saying that the band has broken up. I hold my time with the Black Crowes with the utmost respect and sincerest appreciation. It is a huge swath of my life’s body of work. I couldn’t be more proud of what we accomplished and deeply moved by the relationships people created and maintained with my music. That alone is the greatest honour of being a musician,” Robinson continued: “I love my brother [Robinson] and respect his talent but his present demand that I must give up my equal share of the band and that our drummer for 28 years and original partner, Steve Gorman, relinquish 100% of his share, reducing him to a salaried employee, is not something I could agree to”.  The band slit in 2002 when Gorman quit. They…

Van Halen dispute settled
Artists , Trade Mark / February 2015

TRADE MARK Artistes   ELVH Inc, the company that represents the intellectual property interests of rock band Van Halen has reached a settlement with Kelly Van Halen, the ex-wife of the band’s co-founder and drummer, following a legal dispute over her continued use of her married name in a design business after  Kelly Van Halen attempted to register trademarks for her business, which has continued to operate under her married name despite her divorcing Alex Van Halen in the mid-1990s. ELVH Inc claimed that Kelly’s proposed trademarks would violate and dilute the band’s own Van Halen marks and should therefore be blocked. It also argued that Alex’s ex’s continued use of the Van Halen name constituted passing off and unfair competition. ELVH have now said that the matter has been “amicably resolved”. Kelly Van Halen’s attorney told The Hollywood Reporter that his client had agreed to not provide any music-related products or services, and to only use her name as part of a wider brand identity, such as ‘Designer Originals by Kelly Van Halen’.

Taylor Swift looks for Trade Marks in her lyrics
Artists , Music Publishing , Trade Mark / February 2015

TRADE MARK Artistes, music publishing   Taylor Swift has applied to Trade Mark some of her most individual lyrics, notably “this sick beat” from Shake it Off as well as “nice to meet you, where you been?” and “party like it’s 1989”. Alexander Ross, a partner at law firm Wiggin, explained to the Guardian newspaper “What she is trying to do is to protect individual phrases within her lyrics where those lyrics have become catchphrases. “Once you have a trademarked phrase you have the right to stop someone else using it on things like merchandising” although the article also points to Apple’s Beats by Dre mark which may prove a partially obstacle to Swift’s ambitions.

Rhihanna prevails again against TopShop
Artists , Copyright / February 2015

PASSING OFF, COPYRIGHT Artists   Rihanna has won a legal battle against high street store Topshop over a T-shirt bearing her image. The Court of Appeal in London upheld a ban on the store selling a sleeveless T-shirt featuring a photo of the star without obtaining her permission. At first instance Birss J ruled that “[t]he mere sale by a trader of a t-shirt bearing an image of a famous person is not, without more, an act of passing off. However the sale of this image of this person on this garment by this shop in these circumstances is a different matter.” The Court of Appeal has now issued its decision in Fenty v Arcadia, confirming Birss J’s judgment and holding that “the sale by Topshop of the t-shirt amounted to passing off.”   Quick recap In 2012 Topshop started selling – both in its stores and online – a T-shirt [or, to be more precise, and as Birss J explained at the time of his judgment, a ““boyfriend style tank” (i.e. an oversized sleeveless t-shirt)”] bearing the image of Rihanna. Topshop had secured a licence from the holder of the copyright in the photograph, but had not asked Rihanna…

Dr Luke sues Kesha’s lawyer for defamation over Lady Gaga rape claims
Artists , Defamation / January 2015

DEFAMATION Artistes   Dr Luke has filed a defamation lawsuit against Mark Geragos, the lawyer representing Kesha in her lawsuit against him. Kesha has made a number of serious allegations against pop producer Dr Luke, (real name Lukasz Gottwald) whose label and music publishing company she signed to aged eighteen. The singer says Gottwald forced her to “take drugs and alcohol in order to take advantage of her sexually while she was intoxicated”. The claims appear in a lawsuit filed by Kesha against Gottwald in the LA courts, which also accuses the producer of rape, and of creating an environment that led to the singer suffering from bulimia. Gottwald denies the allegations and has counter-sued. Meanwhile, earlier this month Lady Gaga told Howard Stern in an interview that she had been raped when she was nineteen, though did not identify the perpetrator. Geragos later tweeted a link to an E! Online report on the interview with the question, “Guess who the rapist was?” When one fan replied “Lukasz”, Geragos responded in a since deleted tweet, “#Bingo”. Gaga has denied that the accusation is true and had previously said: “This ridiculous, manufactured link between Lady Gaga and the Kesha/Dr Luke lawsuit…

Gaga scout nets $7.3 million
Artists , Contract / December 2014

CONTRACT Artistes   Wendy Starland has won $7.3 million from Lady Gaga’s former producer Rob Fusari after a US court ruled yesterday that Fusari had broken an agreement to split his earnings from Gaga with Starland, the talent scout who discovered the Poker Face star. Starland was tasked by Fusari to find “the female equivalent to the lead singer of The Strokes” in 2005. She eventually discovered 20 year old singer Stefani Germanotta and introduced her to him. The singer and producer then began working together, eventually developing her into Lady Gaga.. Fusari himself sued Gaga in 2010, claiming that he was due a bigger cut of her income than what he was already receiving for production credits on her first album. The pair eventually reached an out-of-court settlement. Some of the details from the current case and Fusari’s own case have been kept confidential by the courts after Gaga asserted that information in papers relating to the case was “sensitive, private and personal” and would “inflict significant personal and professional harm upon” her if it was made public and whilst a partial seal was granted, details of the singer’s deposition in the current case, given in September, were made4…

Rappers album content leads to criminal charges
Artists , Criminal Law / December 2014

CRIMINAL Artistes   HipHop Dx reports that rapper Tiny Doo is facing criminal charges because his “No Safety” album implies that the rapper has gang ties. Doo (Brandon Duncan) is charged under laws that make it an offence to benefit from the violent actions of fellow gang members. According to ABC 10, whilst Duncan has no criminal record,  he and 14 other members of the gang are being charged for being involved in nine shootings since April 2013. Prosecutors are saying that Tiny Doo’s “No Safety” album sales have been supported by the reputation of the gang. This is the first time the law is being put into effect.  The No  Safety cover artwork features a gun and bullets. The lyrics discuss themes such as selling drugs, killing foes and making a better life for his family. Duncan’s attorney, Brian Watkins, says that there is no reason for his client to be charged saying “He has no criminal record. Nothing in his lyrics say go out and commit a crime. Nothing in his lyrics reference these shootings, yet they are holding him liable for conspiracy. There are huge constitutional issues.” Law professor Alex Kreit added “The Constitution says it can’t…

Jay Z, Chauncey Mahan and a copyright ownership dispute
Artists , Copyright / November 2014

COPYRIGHT Recorded music, artistes   This from the IPKat.   In July this year, Grammy award winner producer and sound engineer Chauncey Mahan launched legal proceedings in the Court of Judge Schofield (District Court of New York, case 14-cv-5075 LGS) against Shawn Corey Carter known by his stage name Jay Z, an American rapper, and Roc-A-Fella records under the Copyright Act 1976.  Mahan claimed that he should be named a joint author and hence a joint owner of the copyright of six Jay Z albums (45 published sound recordings) including 1999’s “Vol. 3… Life and Times of S. Carter” and 2000’s “The Dynasty: Roc La Familia” on which he worked from August 1999 to October 2000. Mahan said he was instrumental in creating the sounds of the releases since all of them were tracked, recorded, edited, arranged and mixed by him at Sony Studios — where he rendered his technical and aesthetic talents without direct or indirect supervision of other putative joint authors. Mahan brought his own digital audio workstation, i.e, pro-tools system, into Sony Music Studios and interfaced his then state-of-the-art equipment with Sony’s built-in technology. However, Jay Z’s stand on this is that Chauncey is “attempting to use…

Juicy J and Columbia face challenge over ownership of video
Artists , Copyright / November 2014

COPYRIGHT Recorded music, artistes   A photographer and a video production company involved in producing Juicy J’s “Bandz A Make Her Dance” music video are seeking damages from the rapper and his record label, Columbia Records. Photographer Mahad Dar and Creative Dream Productions (CDP) have filed a suit alleging copyright infringement. The background shows a somewhat confused filming circumstances environment – there were a number of occurrences that halted and disrupted filming and although CDP secured extras, trailers for artists, and ‘craft services’ for the video in 2012 a misunderstanding over the cancellation of a guest appearance by  Lil’ Wayne, who was to also star in the video, meant that the preferred venue for filming was cancelled. Dar, who was the principal photographer for the video, claims no arrangement was ever made for the use of his images. According to Dar, he is the sole owner of the video footage.   The claimants are seeking injunctive relief and all profits from both the song and the music video which has had over 34 million hits on YouTube.

Music creator group calls a ‘fair trade’ in music streaming

COPYRIGHT Internet, recorded music, music publishing, artistes   A new report launched by the International Council Of Creators Of Music, or CIAM, has called for a more equal distribution of streaming royalties between the respective music rights owners – overhauling of the streaming royalty system which is increasingly seen as favouring record labels above music publishers, songwriters and artistes. CIAM is a global body that sets out to “protect the rights and assert the cultural aspirations of music creators”, while its report also has the backing of CISAC, the global grouping of music publishing collecting societies, as well as Music Creators North America and Canadian collecting society SOCAN. The report was written by Professor Pierre-E Lalonde, and it says: “The split in revenues between the different sets of rights holders is imbalanced. A combination of regulatory constraints, market imbalances and situations where major record labels negotiate with digital services for all categories of rights holders, has led to a significant disparity between the revenues paid to record labels and to creators”. He goes on: “In the business of streaming, the split of monies from streaming platforms is geared more favourably towards record labels and performers vs songwriters and music publishers”,…

Toto lose digital royalty battle
Artists , Contract , Copyright , Music Publishing / November 2014

COPYRIGHT / CONTRACT Artists, recorded music   Sony Music Entertainment does not owe digital music royalties to the rock band Toto, best known for its 1980s pop hits “Rosanna” and “Africa,” a federal judge ruled. Toto was dissatisfied with the terms of a $8 million class action settlement that their fellow bands The Allman Brothers Band, Cheap Trick and other recording artistes reached with Sony two years ago over digital music download and streaming royalties, Rolling Stone reports.  Its auditor claimed that Toto deserved “50 percent net receipts” on digital downloads. The band reunited in 2010, and two years later sued Sony in the federal court, seeking $605,000 in compensatory damages for breach of contract and other claims. During discovery, the parties “put music executives on the hot seat”, but also reportedly quibbled over whether a “lease” and “licensee” agreement applied to their contract. Toto contended that the words meant the same thing, but Sony disagreed. U.S. District Judge Richard Sullivan turned to Black’s Law Dictionary and Webster’s Dictionary before ultimately siding with Sony on this issue. “[T]he dictionary definitions of the terms reflect that they are not synonymous, with ‘lease’ generally pertaining to rights in real or tangible property, and ‘license’…